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There are precious moments in the hours when light emerges from the darkness, when the sun dawns upon the earth and the moon fades into the clouds. Those moments when these incredible celestial bodies play see-saw, the whole world is at the brink of a whole new beginning. Those who live to see the day break, either acknowledge or are oblivious of the fact that God has chosen to be merciful and loving towards them, and is giving them another chance to discover the awesomeness, extraordinary potential and unique charisms that He has poured to the brim in their lives, to bear great fruit.
Thousands of thousands of people all around the world are seeking to find, to know and experience the purpose of their lives. Some want to know what best they can do to make their life fulfilling. Some others who realize and live their kingship with God – are yearning to know their call. God’s children choose to discern their ‘calling’ – purpose in life. In James 1:5 it is written “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Wisdom is the key to discern the will of God in one’s life. It surely is not easy by mere human intellect or emotions. God’s grace is the supernatural link to embark on the journey of discernment as well as to decode the will of God in one’s life, a will which is holy, perfect and that would bring great glory to God alone (ref Jeremiah 29:11).
But it is surely not very easy to know what’s in God’s mind for us. His plan for us has been in His mind even before the creation of the world. He is a God of unthinkable, unspeakable and immeasurable omniscience. To come close to an understanding of such an implausible design for life, many saints and mystics have generously and freely taught by experience – of what I call the art of being ‘collaborators of love’. Our life is a gift of love – God. To live life to the fullest can be possible only when the fruit of that love is manifested precisely as Love would expect. The best part however, is that Love is never forced upon us. So, one needs to seek, find and fulfill. Among the many saints, doctors and mystics of the Christ’s Church, many have recommended and even designed systematic ways of discerning one’s call in life. Be it St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Paul, St Augustine and so forth.
One of the most important aspects of discerning one’s calling/vocation in life, common in all the recommendations of saints, is to have a heart and mind that is willing to explore. Cooperation with God’s grace will do the rest. One common challenge or rather shortcoming in discerning vocations is that we fail to see in and around our own circumstances. We look for answers or for God’s voice everywhere, but seldom in the very present circumstances of our lives. This ‘angle’ is as important as every other. It is clearly and repeatedly evident in the lives of many of those who responded to God’s call, mentioned especially in the Holy Gospels. Jesus entered in to the very now of people’s lives, spoke to them in the midst of their day-to-day realities and called them. Now those who said yes to His call did not spare time in doing so. By grace, they let their hearts and minds to follow the call, to experience the possibilities and in the end bear fruit that would be greater than their most unthinkable imagination.
Peter and Andrew were fishermen, and Jesus entered in the very center of their lives and called them to be ‘fishers’ of men. The same He did with James and John. Jesus met Matthew just as he was – a tax collector. Wanted him to experience God (Himself) in his very own house, and then at His call of ‘follow me’ – Matthew left everything and followed Jesus. When Jesus calls, He expects us to respond and not procrastinate. That’s because when He calls, He is also mindful that our weaknesses, commitments, attachments, etc, make it impossible for us to follow Him. This is why He gives us grace, and longs for us to cooperate with that grace at the earliest or rather immediately. Failing which, such grace may not occur again. When the rich young man asked the ‘Good Teacher’ what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus acknowledges that the man lived his life following the commandments but yet there was one thing that he had to do. Jesus did not mince words in letting him know what that one thing was. Jesus said, “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Mark 10:21)”. You see how Jesus spoke to him in a language that the ‘rich man’ was accustomed to all his life? The language of possessions, wealth and treasure – but only now it had a paradigm shift in meaning. So what did the rich young man do? Scripture says, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Dear friends, most of us desire to fulfill God’s will in our lives, but not all of us have the same spirit of obedience after God reveals his plan for us. God surely knows us better than we do. Holy Scriptures in Psalm 139:4 says, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” God speaks to us in our every day circumstances. He wants us to look into ourselves. He speaks to us in ways that we can surely understand, if and only if we have the true desire to submit our will to Him and to cooperate zestfully with His grace, to a call that will illuminate His image and likeness, with which He fearfully and lovingly created us. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).” Let us be open, be willing, be courageous and let ourselves be willed towards heaven by His grace.